Photo courtesy Informa Exhibitions U.S.
Photo courtesy Informa Exhibitions U.S.

The 2015 PSP Expo offers an abundance of classes for pool and spa professionals wanting to hone their trade or business skills — and for industry newcomers who need to get up to speed. The conference boasts nearly 70 classes, over 250 hours of course selections and targeted education tracks and programs.

There are 38 new sessions in PSP’s core education conference, notes Tracy Garcia, CEM, show director at Informa Exhibitions U.S. of Irving, Texas.

Seminar topics run the gamut,  from sales to managing a multigenerational work force, waterfeatures, hot tub installation/design, water and energy conservation — even a Houzz panel discussion on how to use that online tool to showcase your company.

Knowledge seekers also can choose from tracks such as the Genesis Schools (design, construction, drawing) and the Genesis Lifestyle Program; Outdoor Living (landscape design, portable spas, outdoor kitchens, fire features); Commercial (aspects of commercial pool water care and more).

The list goes on and on. Here are some standouts specifically tailored for builders, service technicians and retailers.


Construction 241: Advanced Construction — Structures and Massive Watershapes
Wed., Nov. 11, 9:45-11:15 a.m.
Ready to take on larger, or more complicated, projects? This course is for you. It’s led by Rick Chafey, co-owner of Red Rock Contractors in Gilbert, Ariz., and a Genesis Platinum Member. He’ll discuss projects often requiring advanced construction techniques and may include structures. Points covered: watershapes that incorporate buildings, bridges, decks, vaults, slides, etc.; elevated and cantilever watershapes; advanced-engineered concrete and steel structures; managing and building massive projects; and the qualifications and experience, as well as key personnel and operations, needed for success.

Making the Grade: Designing & Building on a Hillside
Wed., Nov. 11, 9:45-11:15 a.m.
Mike Farley, SWD, will take you through the design process for a hillside project, starting with the site analysis and grading/topography plan. Attendees will see how patios, steps and terraces can be used to transition from one level to the next. Different waterfeatures can create the setting and “wow” factors, as explained by Farley, a designer and sales/marketing specialist at Claffey Pools in Southlake, Texas. Case studies ranging from simple minimum slopes to complex steep slopes, will be reviewed.

U.S. Residential Pool Markets Report
Wed., Nov. 11, 1:30-2:30 p.m.
Attendees will get an update of MetroStudy’s residential pool industry research and reports, which rank the best U.S. pool markets and their performance so far in 2015. It highlights top pool builders nationally and in key markets, and gives a profile of households most likely to own or install pools. Attendees may download a free report on how their local markets are expected to perform, and which ZIP codes and consumer groups have the most potential in 2016. Presenter Toby Morrison is national sales manager, BMP Channel, at MetroStudy. The firm is owned by Washington, D.C.-based Hanley Wood, which also owns PSN.

Design 322: Audible & Visual Considerations of Waterfeature Design
Thurs., Nov. 12, 8-9:45 a.m.
Never underestimate the power of acoustics on a space, indoors or outdoors — as Skip Phillips and Greg Boruff will show. The instructors will discuss acoustics and their effect on the auditory senses; describe how waterfeatures sometimes are used to mask road noise and other acoustical pollution; identify tranquil and pleasing water noises, and show how they are generated; and identify loud and jarring water noises, and what to avoid. Phillips, SWD, is president/co-founder of Genesis and president of Questar Pools & Spas Inc. in Escondido, Calif. Boruff, SWD, is an associate designer at Questar.


Healthy Water Requirements: Advanced Chemistry
Tues., Nov. 10, 8-9:45 a.m.
This advanced class will take an in-depth look at sanitizers — primary (chlorine, bromine, biguanide and metal systems) and secondary (UV and ozone) — for ongoing and remedial treatment of pool water. The discussion will include factors that affect the sanitizer effectiveness and the potential for disinfection byproducts. Current standard and code requirements also will be presented by Ellen Meyer, manager of the Technical Services Group at Lonza, based in Allendale, N.J.

Find, Hire and Retain Motivated Workers
Tues., Nov. 10, 8-9:45 a.m.
Attendees will learn field-tested techniques to find, hire and keep the best available workers on the market. This workshop shows how to form a successful interviewing strategy and effective questions for job interviews; ways to ensure that new hires are firmly on board in the first 90 days; and secrets to keeping new staffers motivated to do their best. Presenter Brad Humphrey previously owned construction firms and is founder/president of Pinnacle Development Group in Granbury, Texas.

Hot Water Chemistry & Testing
Wed., Nov. 11, 8-9:30 a.m.
Wayne Ivusich will explore water balance, sanitation/oxidation, treatment applications, testing techniques and more. By using a systematic presentation and review of the parameters involved, he hopes to improve attendees’ understanding of the uniqueness of hot water chemistry. He will review the most commonly asked technical questions and answer queries from the class. Ivusich is a 21-year industry veteran and the sales manager at Taylor Technologies Inc. in Sparks, Md.

Engineering 312: Understanding Water Current
Thurs., Nov. 12, 8-9:45 a.m.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a lazy river, wave pool or waterpark attraction — working with water current can be daunting, say David Peterson and Peter Davidson. It’s essential to find the proper amount of pressure, maximize flow rates and utilize safety grates — all while maintaining water efficiency. They’ll take you through the process and increase your understanding of water current in commercial pool applications. Peterson, P.E., SWD, chairs the Genesis Education Council and is president/CEO of Watershape Consulting Inc. in San Diego. Davidson is owner of Current Systems Inc. in Ventura, Calif.


How to Make 50K a Year Without Digging a Hole: The Art of Selling the Backyard Experience
Tues., Nov. 10, 8-9:45 a.m.
This class’ intriguing title may draw you in, but you’ll leave with ideas and practical advice. Tony Rodriguez will cover how to sell items needed to complete the backyard living experience. It includes shade structures, patio furniture, fire pits and barbecues. The president/CEO of International Outdoor Furnishings in Riverside, Calif., will identify the add-on types of outdoor living revenue, define three ways to present add-ons, offer techniques to market add-ons to your existing customer base, and more.

Creating a Total Customer In-Store Experience
Wed., Nov. 11, 3:30-5 p.m.
Ted Lawrence will show attendees how to create a proper style and flow to stimulate store sales, as well as how to enact small changes that can make a big impact. Other points he’ll be covering: using scent and sound marketing to form a welcoming environment, and creating powerful product displays that get consumers to buy. Lawrence is PoolCorp’s retail category manager and is based in Pepper Pike, Ohio.

Make Your Outdoor Living Business Contagious
Wed., Nov. 11, 3:30-5 p.m.
Customers expect an “experience” when they shop at your store, says Anne Obarski, president of Merchandise Concepts in Columbus, Ohio. Sharpen your focus in the areas of marketing, service and creating a customer “experience” within your business. Learn how to refocus on the four critical areas of your company — and the one most retailers ignore. Obarski’s newest book, Make Your Customer Service Contagious, was released this summer.

Competing with Amazon: Strategies and Implementation Plans from Successful Retailers (Panel Discussion)
Thurs., Nov. 12, 8-9:45 a.m.
Brian Quint, president of Aqua Quip in Seattle, will moderate and participate in this panel of retailers, which includes Dennis Marunde, president, Arvidson Pools & Spas in Chicago and Chris Curcio, CEO, Litehouse Pools & Spas in Ohio; the fourth member was pending at press time. Attendees will receive a minimum of 10 actions they can use to compete with e-commerce merchants. Panelists will give 15-minute presentations, followed by collaborative conversation and audience questions.